By David Fleet
The 2018 Martians are ready to build off a stellar turnaround season and return to the playoffs.
Last year the Martians tallied an 8-2 season after a dismal 0-9 campaign in 2016.
“We are very optimistic about this team,” said Head Coach Tom Alward, beginning his 27th year at the helm. “Quickness, experience and a solid JV program will move this team a long ways this year that’s f we keep healthy—injuries are always a concern. We open with Flint Powers, then Brandon, Lake Fenton and Nortre Dame Prep—the two teams we lost to last year. We have to come together and execute on both sides of the ball.”
The Martians will be ready for the tough opening schedule, added Alward.
“You’d like to structure the schedule for the best success,” he said. “But if you can’t beat the teams on your schedule, how can you win in the playoffs? We can make some noise this season.”
Alward who was inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame in 2011 said expect a solid group of skilled seniors that are game ready. With Alward who is 139-100 with the Martians won league titles in 2004, 2008 and 2010, 2015 and is also the most winningest coach ever in Martian Football history. Coach Alward is joined on the bench by his son-in-law, offensive coordinator and former Croswell-Lexington High School coach Jason VanDer Maas.
Former Bentley High School co-head coach Ryan Tomaselli will be the line coach. Jack Chittle will be the defensive back coach and receivers. Tomaselli will lead the defensive lines for the Martians. In addition, Bruce Edwards will be the line coach along with speed, strength and conditioning trainer.
Trevor Alward in his 16th season as a Martian coach will also assist JV and Freshman coach line Neil Smith.
“For the fourth season we’ve featured the spread offense,” said Alward. “Look for us to continue scoring plenty of points this year.”
In 2017 the Martians scored 40 or more points in seven of ten games.
At quarterback is Senior Jacob Wagner along with Junior Nolan Robb.
“Wagner is one of the fastest on the team,”said Alward. “With a cannon for an arm, he can throw and run. The dual threat is a great combination— and make this team stronger.”
In the backfield this year Freshman Tyson Davis.
“Davis is going to be fun to watch,” he said. “He’s tough fast and a very athletic kid who can run the ball and is an outstanding receiver. Last year he was All State as a freshman so he now has experience. He’s a special talent and a special young man—we are blessed to have him on this team. The most talented we’ve had in many years. Now at 5-11 and 170 pounds he’ll be a beast this year.”
The offense is rounded out by receivers Sophomore Tyson Davis, Senior Colby Phipps, Junior JaCoby Brandon, Junior Luke Robinson and Junior Nolan Robb.
“Davis and Brandon are rangy and have great hands,” he said. “They are fast and are big play people. Robinson runs outstanding routes and difficult to cover.”
The powerful offensive line includes Senior Honour Kline, Junior Dan Greene, Senior Blake Coffell, Senior Kenton Tison and Junior Tim Brozo.
“It’s a good mix from last year very and very athletic,” he said. “Our ‘O’ line looks great. They are strong, tough kids who can really get after you. Big Dan Greene will lead the way—you’re going to see some great things from him this season.”
The Martian defense is lead by linebackers seniors James Penfold, Aaron Moore and Cody Moore.
“They are all strong, fast and very tough,” he said. “They just can’t run against this line. We need to do the little things—if we stay disciplined we’ll win.”
Also watch for junior linebacker Tucker Reickle, defensive back Dominic Edwards.
“They can move and hit, he said. “I’m excited to see them play.